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Spouses/Partners of Sex Addicts - 19

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DogsnBooks posted 2/21/2019 15:01 PM

So it seems like a hot topic here (and is in my household as well) that the SA never seems to be truly doing the work and isn’t changing.

I’m curious, what exactly do we all think that should look like? Is there anyone here who DOES feel their SA has been doing the work and is changing - and how are they doing so? For the rest of us who don’t see it happening, what do you wish your SA would do? What changes/work do you wish you were seeing?

Specific points are appreciated but vague statements are of course welcome as well. (We do live in the grey area on this thread after all. It’s never quite cut and dry.)

Lionne posted 2/21/2019 15:27 PM

My husband was SA well BEFORE 18.

True for many of them. The research suggests that some kids masturbate to self sooth. Of course that happens. But in addicts it becomes compulsive. Frequently happens in homes that are chaotic and the child/adolescent is powerless.

I was in the best shape of my life when I begged my husband to tell me why we weren't having sex. He screamed "your body DISGUSTS me!" He "didn't mean it," I was challenging him about his addiction.

It really isn't about your size. And if it were, if he would be more attracted to you if you were thinner, shouldn't that be a discussion, and an encouraging word, maybe a plan to take a daily walk together, something? Certainly, screwing a whore isn't a solution, but these guys will use it all for justification. And, weren't those HIS kids you birthed, complete with heartburn, stretch marks and more pain than any man could bear?

I can't imagine being happy again. I feel like if I stay, I am screwed , and if I leave, same thing. This is not what I signed up for. I still love him , but not sure if that is enough
.

You know, despite the discovery that my husband had relapsed 2-4 years ago, I am happy. But it has little to do with him. I have a clear, definite plan if I decide to leave. It took me 5 years to feel happiness and joy the first time around. More quickly this time. I credit the work I did for that.

They lie. Then they lie about the lies. It's compulsive. And sick. Maybe they can stop, I have my doubts.

On the outside, he appears to be the nicest guy anyone could know...very generous , compassionate and kind. Sometimes , I want to puke when people who know him tell me what a great guy he is , when I am dying on the inside because of all the pain he has inflicted on me.

Yep. I know a bunch of spouses for whom this is true. Addicts are very good at this camouflage.

Lionne posted 2/21/2019 15:53 PM

I’m curious, what exactly do we all think that should look like? Is there anyone here who DOES feel their SA has been doing the work and is changing - and how are they doing so?

Obviously, I was fooled again. I thought he had done the work because he really has changed. He was no longer abusive and dismissive of me and my feelings, attended 12 step meetings religiously, even when I thought he could take a day off, and made sure he continued to check in about his location, about money, etc. While he was in early recovery, I backed off, detached. He said he had worked the steps even though I never saw him write, he didn't have extra meetings with his sponsor, nothing. But his behavioral changes were consistent and dramatic.

He's currently doing 90/90 some AA meetings. I am insisting that he start Magness's FFAST check-in on a weekly basis.

He was regularly looking at porn, on his phone, deleting history afterward. He doesn't get the whole "cloud" "sync" thing and didn't know the history would show up on his computer. I still have NO IDEA why I looked.

He says that he thought he could "work" the program his way, that porn didn't count, that he knew better than generations of successfully recovering addicts. (Wish there was a emoji for hitting my head against the wall.)

He says he didn't masturbate. IDK and ID care. It's compulsive behavior. I watch cat videos somewhat compulsively, play games on my phone/tablet compulsively. His compulsion is harmful to me, goes against our agreement, and due to the nature, harmful to many, many people, human trafficking etc. I don't think anyone has ever been damaged by crushing some candy.

So, the answer for me is that I will never know for sure. And the question clearly distilled by Shattered Sorrow a few pages back is,

do you think you can live a happier life with them or without them at this point

I'm not sure of the answer yet. But please, if you are reading this and are a SAHM with young kids, please, please make a plan that allows for complete financial independence. The job of a SAHM is admirable and difficult, but IMHO unrealistic. 50% of marriages end. It's nice if divorces proceed with fairness and equity, and considerable financial consideration for the work of that SAHM, we all know that too many divorces wind up with a mother and children living in poverty while WH lives a life of luxury.

By the way, sex in my marriage is non existent and has been since the night my husband said something completely vile to me because I wasn't writhing like a porn star. Nope. Not happening. Of course, now, I have a physical condition that makes sex very painful. He says he'd rather be with me sexless than with anyone else or alone. Who knows if that's true? Although I must admit his actions support that. Except for the porn use of course

ashestophoenix posted 2/21/2019 17:27 PM

There is no doubt in my mind that my husband is actually changing. It's sincere. But, it's very, very slow and it takes alot of money and resources. My husband goes to 12 step; individual therapy with a trauma therapist; group psychotherapy; a weekly men's group; weekly meditation group; weekly marriage counseling. He needs all of this and he needs it every week.

I'll say what I learned to look for, but it's actually more important to think about how I am doing. How is my healing program. That is infinitely more important and leads straight to my happiness.

I completely agree with Lionne. At the outset, get in control of the money. Or as much control as you can. Realize that your partner is NOT safe and does NOT have your best interest in mind.

To understand if they are sincere, we need to see a reduction in acting out and shitty partner behavior; and more importantly, an increase in healthy overall behavior and adult skills in every arena. And they can more easily hide and fake the not acting out. They cannot fake the learning adult relational skills (like, expressing empathy, initiating meaningful conversation, using adult language about emotion, owning their behavior).

Here's what I saw early on:
1) a reduction in staring, less distraction
2) a reduction in raging
3) after a year, saying out loud he was an addict
4) commitment to his recovery program

After two years I saw and heard:
1) Out loud saying he learned he needed to recover to save himself, not just the marriage.
2) more tolerance for my questions about our past
3) less raging
4) SOMETIMES...correcting what he just said and saying "no, really, the truth is...."
5) owning his behavior
6) decreasing the blaming (this takes a long time)

After six years, he can:
1) tolerate more of my talking about my feelings and the impact of his behavior on my feelings
2) better listening
3) better ability to stay in a conversation
4) improved skills at managing conflict
5) more honesty about his addiction
6) more reliability in doing what he said he would do

But, and here is a big but, he still needs improvement on:
1) not being defensive
2) initiating meaningful conversation
3) being proactive rather than reactive
4) being more adult always
5) deepening his empathy AND expressing it
6) showing he CHOOSES me, VALUES me
7) not being controlling and having fun

His self esteem is still at rock bottom and he is full of self loathing. That has to improve.

Remember, they are TERRIFIED of emotional connection. They can't have emotionally-based, relational sex. Only objectified sex.

I think my husband will develop more adult skills in relating, but he has 60 years of stunted development. I'm not sure it will be enough for me.

What I have no hope for is that he could develop a healthy, adult sexuality AND be able to express that with me. I just don't see it.

More important, is that I needed to disconnect from all the above to focus on my well being. It helps immensely that he's not the asshole rageaholic he used to be. But I don't love him any more. I feel compassion for him and I respect his recovery work. I know he is desperate to keep me. But it's not all that important to me anymore. What is important is how I am feeling about myself and my life. Figuring out what I want and achieving it.

ashestophoenix

Somber posted 2/21/2019 18:44 PM

I may be too new on here to add much value, nor do I really know where I belong. However, I always come back to his thread and relate a lot. My WH hasn’t admitted to being a SA; however, he has admitted to feeling addicted to the attention and validation of being sexual by other women. The messages to other women, affair, porn, dating sites may be good reasons to think he is a SA.

For the rest of us who don’t see it happening, what do you wish your SA would do? What changes/work do you wish you were seeing?

I wish he would hold himself accountable and admit he has a problem, regardless of how it is labelled.
I wish he would F off with the TT and provide me with full disclosure so that I can make an informed decision about my life.
I wish he would stop minimizing his behaviour when I bring it up which directly insults my feelings.
I wish he stuck with IC so that he can prove he is trying to dig deep and sort out his problems. Then we could have been maybe trying MC now.
I wish he would say sorry weekly showing he has empathy and insight into the pain he has caused.
I wish he would check in when he is out just to reassure me, I mean each time he is out (at least for now).
I wish he would sync his phone with the home iPad so I can check his messages to hopefully find nothing and be reassured.
I wish he would get off Instagram as opposed to telling me has and hiding it somewhere on his phone.
I wish he would stop trying to have sex with me and instead maybe trying to reconnect physically on a smaller scale, such as cuddling or hand holding.
I wish he would have walked right by me when we met and never pursued me!

secondtime posted 2/21/2019 21:04 PM

I'll know my husband has done the work when he

1) Doesn't make everything about him.

Our last blow up is because when I asked him a question point blank he said "I'm feeling ambushed."

And then it was "Aren't you happy that I share how I was feeling with you."

No. I'm not. Because it's just about you. When your conversations are all "I...I...I...me...me" you don't really give a crap about me.

2) Understands the gravity of the fact that I cannot trust him. Right now he's treating my lack of trust like the grocery store being out of the brand of graham crackers we buy. Oh, well, we'll just wait until next time.

3) Stops treating his 12 step group like some end-all/be-all magical fairy dust that will keep him sober forever.

4) Can tell me why he was willing to destroy our marriage so he could get high. I will not accept "because I'm an addict." as an excuse.

5) Tells the kids we've had some ugly fights because HE chose to lie to me for most of our relationship.

6) Tells me who he finds attractive. I want to know what his type is. He says he doesn't have one. I call bullshit on that.

7) When being in a relationship with me is more important than him hanging onto his shame.

8) When he gets a clue about social cues.

9) When he asks me about how I feel and what I want, rather than trying to guess what I want. And then getting pissed off at me when he guesses wrong.

10) When he finally understands that active addicts are not capable of loving anything other than their addiction. And can tell me that for most of our marriage, he's really never loved me.

11) When he remembers that I am hurting all the time. Not just when I hurt myself, have very bad panic attacks, or decide to spend the day in bed.

12) Why he feels like he can tell me I'm attractive. Or why he even loves me.

13) He tells me he can recognize how his addiction has escalated over the past 20+ years, and he stops telling me that he's only capable of fantasy, and not stepping out of the marriage.

DogsnBooks posted 2/22/2019 12:26 PM

I'll know my husband has done the work when he
1) Doesn't make everything about him.

Our last blow up is because when I asked him a question point blank he said "I'm feeling ambushed."

And then it was "Aren't you happy that I share how I was feeling with you."

No. I'm not. Because it's just about you. When your conversations are all "I...I...I...me...me" you don't really give a crap about me

Umm, are we married to the same person?! Wait ... I think that joke would land anywhere else other than HERE ...

Mine tells me the same thing, that I’ve ambushed him. Or if I disagree with him about anything, it’s that I’m “shooting him down.” (I wish I could remove that phrase from the English language, he uses it so much! Get a new saying! Mix it up a bit!)

He says the thing about his feelings too. Everything is always me-me-me, I’m the victim, poor me ... and whenever I call him out on it, it’s “Am I not allowed to have feelings? Why can’t I share my feelings? I thought you said you wanted us to talk more? Why don’t I get to ...” and so on

Whenever we have a disagreement or I bring up an issue, 9 times out of 10, I am met back with either: A) defensiveness - excuse making and minimization and “explanations” or B) victim mode - he turns into a hurt puppy, he goes to shame, tried to make himself a martyr (this is SO HARD and he’s trying SO HARD but no matter what, I never see it, because I don’t want to see it and I’m not looking hard enough!)

Maybe 1 time out of 10, I’m met with actual empathy. I’d like to see those numbers start to shift. I deserve that much.

DestroyedWife80 posted 2/22/2019 12:38 PM

Second-
I definitely would say an addict is an addict…there is not ‘bad enough’, etc. There is also the very real prospect of real life activity you didn’t know about. I thought I knew the extent of my WH ‘acting out’…and one day (after more indepth and innovative snooping techniques) I discovered he was into men. I’m sorry, but that just makes it about 1,000x worse for me. It’s a shitty position to be in, regardless of the type of acting out your SA has resorted to…bc for me, it’s MORE about the inability to CONNECT with an intimate, loving partner (his wife)…and a perversion of his sexuality. So sorry you’re dealing with a SA.

BlueTears- I may have techniques for you, that I have (sadly) learned over the last 6 months. I’ll PM 😊

Veryhurt- It’s a very shitty place to be in. Wondering if your H will get picked up on a warrant- maybe at his job, maybe in your front yard. It has also been assured that all names and pictures of johns will be in the paper/news. I also go through the downward spiral. I am in one now- after doing so well for a bit. I don’t know how much of pain shopping (looking at the material that hurts us worst) is detrimental and how much is just ‘processing’…I don’t know.

LifeExploded- OMG!!!! My WH does the SAMEEEE thing. The funny/sick part is, I read all his work emails & texts. I know who the females are. He will ONLY use them/they with women.


** Update on the MP bust- apparently the owner of the Patriots is getting arrested. They not only have video/audio of the front counter transaction, but video/audio of all the sex acts. He denies all involvement. Ok you nasty wrinkly assed old man...lets watch the video and then you try to say that. Still, sickly waiting to hear the remaining 125 names......

DogsnBooks posted 2/22/2019 13:49 PM

Destroyed -

My SAWH acted out with men as well. Turns out he is bisexual and was trying (obviously unsuccessfully) to repress it.

I don’t have an issue with bisexuality. I don’t have an issue with him being interested in men. I am very LGBTQA+ supportive, personally. What I DID have an issue with was him hiding this part of himself from me for 8+ years, and for using it as an excuse for infidelity.

There was also of course the concern that maybe he is actually gay and has been using me as a cover this whole time and that he actually wants to be with a man and he won’t be able to handle not having that’s option.

As time passes though, I understand that’s not true, at least in our situation. I know that bisexuality is a real and valid thing - and that it’s extremely hard for men especially to come to terms with that because they are conditioned from a young age “no homo” and that they must be masculine and that gay = gross and bad. Female bisexuality on the other hand is fetishized. (Not saying that’s any better, just different.) I am NOT making any excuses for my SAWH by any means, but the bisexuality, I get. It’s everything else that’s so hard.

Lionne posted 2/22/2019 14:20 PM

So...looks like one of the men arrested in SFla is th owner of the Patriots. Apparently they cheat on and off the field. Ha. Who'd have guessed.

He is married to a beautiful, young, tall, thin blonde. There goes that theory that our aging bodies "caused" cheating.

Shocked123 posted 2/22/2019 15:58 PM

Kraft is worth 6.6 billion dollars and he frequents an Asian spa regularly in Jupiter, Florida. He even gets driven there. OMG.
Polcie have surveillance cameras with video of him recieving services. Bet his 39 year old girlfriend isn't going to be too happy.
HA HA HA HA....So glad he got caught.
What a fool.
One of my fears was that my H's activities were caught on video. Some of these parlours sell these sessions to porn sites.
My H didn't know that (???)!

Lifeexploded posted 2/22/2019 19:59 PM

Dogs and Destroyed, my husband also acted out with men. I think that he is bisexual, but he won't admit it. Even his csat says he was just acting out his trauma from childhood. I don't know if I buy that or not.

Lionne posted 2/22/2019 20:41 PM

The whole gender identification-sexual preference thing is very confusing and complicated. Seems like younger people get it more than I. I have no problem accepting any one regardless of who they are who they love, etc. I'm learning.
We have a young man at meeting who wears a skirt/kilt has renamed himself a female name, has a full beard and a wife and child. He identifies as straight. My friend's daughter is married to a gay woman and has two children. She identifies as pansexual not gay. Both these people are in committed, monogamous relationships. To me, that's the point. If you are married, you stay faithful or you opt to divorce, you don't cheat.
Sex addicts do act out childhood trauma and many sex addicts are CSA victims. Many seek same sex contact because all the rest of the options just don't do it anymore. It's a common theme in my group. The addict has to look for riskier, more dangerous chances, adrenaline junkies.
Most drug addicts eventually shoot up. Unless they choose recovery.

sami1234 posted 2/23/2019 08:09 AM

I just discussed the Kraft arrest article with my WH. It’s important to me that he know the consequences and how lucky he was that he didn’t get snared by his behaviors as it would’ve ruined us financially and him professionally. I didn’t lecture him, but discussed the article in detail. It took a lot of reserve to bring it calmly to his attention and discuss without my losing my temper but he got the message! My husband has frequented that area but I don’t know if he ever acted out there.

whoami62 posted 2/23/2019 09:01 AM

I am bothered by the Kraft story...I am originally from NE , so my FB feed is filled with reactions from all my Patriot fan friends...and I am saddened to see that most of them are laughing and joking about it

My husband didn't partake in massage parlor activity, but regardless, he did his share of acting out in other ways.

I have become very sensitive to anything relating to infidelity and there is nothing funny about it at all to me

DestroyedWife80 posted 2/23/2019 13:06 PM

Dogs-
My counselor, who specializes in treating partners of SA, also believes that most of the SA who act out with men are not gay or even bi-sexual. They must seek ever increasingly taboo acts while ‘chasing the dragon’ because regular escorts or MPs just aren’t ‘shocking’ enough to produce the same ‘high’.

I also think it’s a fact of money. With women (unless they are some drop dead gorgeous man & lets be honest, they’re not) they will either have to pay for sex w women using money (escort/prostitute/MP) OR time (invest in emotionally capturing a woman aka EA). The way I have him locked down monetarily (I can access and monitor all accounts now), he isn’t going to be able to pay for sex. I also monitor his time so much he won’t be able to invest enough time to capture a woman in an EA. With men, there is an endless stream on Craiglist of men looking for quick, NSA sex/sex acts. So it’s fast, free, NSA and (BONUS!) shocking/taboo/titillating. It’s the stuff of SA dreams.

Lionne- Absolutely agree about “I don’t care what gender you are/identify with and to whom your married”…just be faithful. I was married to a sex addict previously (boy I sure can pick em’ eh??!!). We had an open marriage (I was also mentally, verbally, sexually and physically abused so this was not my decision, I was quite cornered into it). I suffered all the heartache of a partner of a SA…but without the infidelity. I knew about what he was doing, he never lied to me. I knew there was no way he would ever be monogamous & honestly, I prefer knowing to being lied to. As sick as that sounds…I did suffer tremendously watching him spiral downward…but at least I was aware of it all, there was no agonizing guessing games, no faceless women, no gaslighting. I did end up escaping him less than a year after the sexual and physical abuse began, so at least there is that.

Samil- I showed my WH the article also and discussed. It’s like he had NO idea. He was like ‘ok, and?’ It’s fucking mind blowing to me!!! I swear there is a TOTAL disconnect in their brain in what they do vs consequences.

Whoami- I do also see people joking about it- I think its because they have not suffered the pain that we have. I might have been tempted to laugh as well without the inside knowledge of this hell.

sami1234 posted 2/24/2019 08:11 AM

DestroyedWife80 Having your WH say "okay, and?" that's very dismissive. On the contrary my WH discussed it like he had never been involved in anything and couldn't understand how men did those things. Well, not like that exactly, but he sounded like a perplexed innocent. Compartmentalization for sure, but then what would be the perfect response?

whoami62, yes people are joking about it. I don't take it personally I think it's mainly because it makes people feel better about themselves if some hugely successful billionaire is caught with his hand in the cookie jar!! Or somewhere else?

DogsnBooks posted 2/24/2019 17:47 PM

Destroyed - No, not all men who act out with other men are gay or bi. For many SAs, it is just that escalation, easier access, even a fetish of the taboo, any number of addict reasons. But still, there are SAs who ARE gay/bi too.

Lionne - I agree. Regardless of sexual orientation or anything else, if you’re in a relationship that is supposed to be monogamous, then you damn well better keep it monogamous.

Ifeelalone posted 2/24/2019 19:15 PM

My SA spouse acted out with men too. He thought threesomes and orges were awesome🙄. He also was trolling craiglists and dating sites for women. He never paid for sex... he's still young, very fit, and very handsome- (that just means he racked up lots of numbers). He swears he isn't gay or bisexual. He really has no reason to lie to me about it either. I'm generally very understanding and accepting of sexual orientation. It's a weird part of the addiction when it morphs that way- I still try to wrap my head around it... although I don't think it makes it 1000 times worse... I think it truly showed me how messed up his brain is and how far the entire thing had escalated and how it had absolutely nothing to do with me at all.

This entire prostitution sting in Florida is crazy. I feel so sorry for all the BS that are finding out this way. My empathy goes out to all the spouses and victims.

Thoughts and prayers to all.

Lifeexploded posted 2/24/2019 19:39 PM

Sawh brought up the florida sting this morning. Among other things, i made the comment that i felt sorry for all the wives of the men who were involved amd will still be publicly outed at some point. He points out that the ringleaders wife died of cancer some time ago. Like that makes it ok? Its always like this with these people isnt it? Deflecting, minimizing, excusing. In his defense he did realize how he had sounded and tried to correct himself by saying he had surely been involved while he wife was alive and of course the trafficking amd prostitution wasnt ok.

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